Friday, April 26, 2024

ALTERNATIVE VIEW: We’re facing a crisis

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Climate change mitigation is certainly the name of the current game and it’s moving at a frenetic pace. Last week I wrote about the taxing of utes, which I found offensive as farmers have little choice.
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Mind you, that didn’t stop Radio NZ running an extensive interview with one Alistair Woodward, who I hadn’t heard of, but is professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the esteemed University of Auckland.

Woodward started by telling me that “utes cause more pollution, more traffic congestion and more dangerous driving”.

More traffic congestion? Not out here they don’t. And as for dangerous driving, how does he know?

It gets better with the university saying that “two-thirds of ute and van trips on the city’s roads were for non-work purposes and 20% were for shopping”. Then comes the king hit – “utes were being used in ways they’re not designed for”.

Woodward has, we’re told, five bikes and a Mazda 3, which may be fine for Auckland, but not much use for transporting a pen of rams.

Why RNZ decided to highlight all this is beyond me and the answer is simple: only allow farmers to own utes or let anyone buy one but give farmers a tax break. It’s easy if there was the political will to do it.

But fellow farmers, there’s a new threat in our fight against the demon that is climate change and it’s “feral pigs and other invasive mammals”.

I’m not joking, it was on the front page of the local paper and in the electronic media. We’re facing a crisis.

Apparently these pests need to be eliminated so forests can regenerate and absorb “15% of New Zealand’s yearly gas emissions”.

The report from Forest & Bird consulted with both Scion and received “independent estimates” of the number of feral animals and how eradicating them could benefit the climate. 

There are a variety of pests identified: possums, deer, wallabies, goats, pigs, chamois and tahr.

We’re in a crisis as “the number of deer, goats and possums are out of control – and that could topple our carbon-holding forests”.

In addition, the methane belched by deer, goats and other feral animals was also a significant contribution to (global) warming.

Also “impacts are multiplied if more than one invasive species is present”. It means forests release carbon instead of sequestering it.

We are also told “that by eating seedlings and killing young trees these introduced pests also consume future generations of forest and our future carbon sinks”.

So fellow farmers, we have a crisis indeed. On the positive side by comparison it reduces the climate change effect of burping farm animals to near zero.

On the negative side, we have a major problem of carbon sequestration made much worse by feral animals effectively killing forests.

We have our native forests overrun by pests. Deer, wallabies and goats are a huge issue, followed by possums, chamois and tahr.

I’m only surprised that we haven’t called a crisis conference on the issue fronted by politicians and overseas experts.

The answer is quite simple, and it is to rearm farmers. Give us back our guns – in the interests of climate change, of course.

In many parts of the country we have deer, goats and pigs causing havoc on farms. It was interesting to me that Forest & Bird were concentrating on forests not farms. A burping deer or goat is the same anywhere, as is the devastation they cause.

In the past we’ve been able to control them with semi-automatic rifles and we did. The Government, ably supported by a gullible minister and an aggressive police force, removed our ability to control pests.

Now those same pests are not only devastating pastures and forests, they’re warming the planet and need to be stopped. We’re repeatedly told that our survival depends on it.

There is an additional problem and that would be the police’s ability to give farmers the necessary licences to control those invasive animals.

I’ve a mate who applied to renew an Arms License four months ago, who has heard absolutely nothing. At that rate, the police speed of licencing for semi-automatics would be guaranteeing several breeding seasons would have passed, with the resultant explosion of global warming pests.

The solution is simple really. Allow farmers to have semi-automatic rifles now under their current licence. That would allow us to kill pests, preserve forests and help to slow global warming. We’d be saving the planet.

They could also exempt farmers from the ute tax, so they could drive to the forests and pick up the deceased pests, stopping them from rotting and causing further pollution.

It’s simple really. Stop global warming, let farmers kill pests – now.

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